Members of the global coronavirus vaccine alliance are eyeing a range of potential prices for the COVID-19 shots. On Monday, one of the co-leads of the COVAX facility, which was designed to ensure fair global access to the coronavirus vaccine, said $40 would be the maximum price for the shot.

GAVI vaccine alliance chief executive Seth Berkley said on Monday that the COVAX facility still had no specific target price for the shot but would negotiate tiered pricing depending on the country. Last week, he rejected comments from European Union sources who claimed that the facility was eyeing a $40 price for the vaccine.

In an interview, Berkley said there was no set price yet for the coronavirus vaccine but the EU announced that it would be $40, which was the maximum price sought for wealthy countries. “There was a large range of numbers, and they put the highest number out,” said Berkley. “And that $40 was the maximum price in the range for high-income countries, rather than a set price,” he added.

Berkley also said it is too early to tell what the final price of the COVID-19 vaccine would be, since most vaccine candidates are still so early in the testing process. “The truth is nobody has an idea what the price is going to be, because we have no idea which potential COVID vaccine is going to work,” he said.

Berkley explained that many questions about the vaccine remain unanswered so it would be impossible to determine what its price would be. He said factors such as the technology that would be most effective in administering the vaccine and whether the vaccine would require a single or a double dose would be influential in determining the eventual pricing. “The challenge is trying to come up with a cost. Anybody who tells you they know isn’t being honest,” he said.

COVAX has already started putting together estimates based on what is known about the potential coronavirus vaccine. COVAX is co-led by GAVI, the World Health Organization, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and aims to secure at least two billion doses of the vaccine across nations who sign up by the end of 2021.   

Vaccine Discussion about the Cuba's life-saving lung cancer vaccine called CimaVax-EGF is growing rapidly. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard